Welcome Family Services Manager – Jessica Jorgensen

We are excited to welcome Jessica Jorgensen, Family Services Manager, to our growing team. Jessica will be working with partner families in the Homeownership Program and Home Repair Programs in Kittitas County.

Jessica comes to us with experience working for Catholic Charities Housing Services as a Pre-Purchasing Counselor. We are excited for the knowledge and experience Jessica brings to Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity.

When asked what brought her to Habitat for Humanity, she compassionately replied, “The mission behind Habitat. I love helping families less fortunate reach goals they never thought would be possible.”

Jessica is married to her high school sweetheart, and they have a beautiful daughter and two fur babies. She loves to cook, anything outdoors such as camping and hiking, and loves the beach, “That’s my happy place.”

Spring 2021 Newsletter

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Building it forward in Kittitas County.

Building Our Programs

It has been a busy time at Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity. Over the course of the last few months, we were able to secure land and are in the permitting process on our 3 acre, 18-home affordable housing new construction project scheduled to break ground in September. This development will double the number of affordable homes and families we will be able to serve in the county. Get a sneak peek at the homes and floor plans below.

Additionally, with Covid-19 restrictions moving to Phase 3, we have been able to reboot our Home Repair program and have expanded staff to work with homeowners who need assistance with critical repairs that will alleviate health and safety issues. It is great to have hammers swinging again. Check out our current project photo below

We are working on funding to rebuild our Home Preservation and Aging in Place programs for Kittitas County and hope to have good news on that front soon. Both programs fall within our Home Repair program, but focus on smaller, necessary but less critical projects around the home. Aging in Place focuses on modifications in and around the home. We understand the positive impact that growing old in your own home and community can have. That’s why we will partner with families, communities and local organizations across the county and state, to help older adults improve their homes and their quality of life so they can flourish where they live. If you would like to support either of these programs, contact us at info@kchabitat.org.

The Rising Cost of Home

An affordable home. It shouldn’t be a dream. It should be something that we can all work toward, and experience the security, stability, and safety that homeownership affords. However, across the county we are seeing rising home prices driven up by several factors including an overall lack of inventory due to a shortage in existing homes on the market, coupled with surged interest in new home purchases.

High demand and low supply throughout 2020 has caused an unprecedented rise in lumber prices, in some cases as much as 200% higher than previous years’ cost. Most believe that prices will start to come down, however, pin pointing when that will happen is difficult. The uncertainty Covid-19 continues to factor into rebuilding economic confidence and while the housing industry has boomed during the pandemic, it has come with a heavy price for those trying to buy a home.

In Kittitas County, we are experiencing the same issues that are happening nationwide and the skyrocketing cost of lumber hits the hardest for those of us trying to build much needed affordable housing in our community. For example, with today’s lumber prices, the cost for lumber on a 1150 sq. ft. home is about $25,000.00. Various experts and economist speculate on the why and when we will see prices come down, but most agree that we will continue to see the surge for some time and most are targeting the end of 2022 before we see prices drop.

At Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity, we will do what we have always done; dig deep, and push hard to find funding avenues that will help offset the rising cost of home. Affordable housing is a right and everyone deserves a decent place to call home.

Stuart Meadows. Welcome Home.

Stuart Meadows is the official name of our 18-home affordable housing development project at 113 W. Bender Rd. and the end of Water street in Ellensburg. The community will have a commanding view of the Mount Stuart Range while tucked into the beautiful meadowland area. The name was selected from a list provided by Habitat council, volunteers, and community members, who paired the list down to their top three finalist. From there, Kittitas County Habitat Homeowner, Katie Haysom honored us by selecting the final and fitting name for our upcoming community. “Coming home should feel tranquil and secure,” stated Katie, “that is what Stuart Meadows feels like to me.” We couldn’t agree more.

Here is a sneak peek at the two unique designs and floor plans for Stuart Meadows. If you would like to find out how to become a Habitat Homeowner, just go to www.BuyHabitat.org

Taneum West Design Rendering & Floorplan

Robinson East Design Rendering & Floorplan

Home Repair in Full Swing

It has been since December of 2018 that Habitat hammers have been swinging in our Home Repair program. We are beyond thrilled to be able to say that we are in full swing now, with our first home repair almost complete and two more in Upper County slated to start soon.

Turn that lamp into a home. Buying from the Store

Did you know that every dollar you spend at the Habitat for Humanity Store at 212 Railroad Avenue in Ellensburg helps build new affordable housing here in Kittitas County? Take advantage of our Store coupon below and thank you for helping us build much needed affordable housing for Kittitas County. For more information or to reach the Store, call 1.888.507.7078 x 5

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Volunteer Services & Store Development – AmeriCorps VISTA

Develop, document, and implement plans to increase volunteer, in-kind and cash resources and further enhance the connection between the affiliate and Habitat Store in the community by creating and/or enhancing volunteer programs, marketing, GIK, and community engagement plans.
The goals of this position are: 1. Develop, implement and document a volunteer recruitment, training, and retention program for the Habitat Store. Support and/or develop the current volunteer program at the affiliate. Improved methods of volunteer utilization and recognition will enhance our engagement with the community and its investment in the mission of our both the affiliate and the Habitat Store;

  1. Develop, implement, and document best practices for recruitment of volunteer groups. Increased support from large teams will both assist the staff in driving sales and generate relationships within the corporate donor community.
  2. Develop, implement, and document sustainable marketing and outreach strategies and materials that ultimately contribute towards an increase in unrestricted revenue from increased numbers of Habitat Store purchases and donations. Support and/or develop marketing and outreach strategies for the affiliate. An increase in unrestricted revenue will in turn enable the affiliate to serve more families and communities;
  3. Develop, implement and document a Gift-in-Kind Donor Recruitment and Retention Program for the Habitat Stores. Research and implement best practices for engaging and retaining corporate donor relationships. Improved methods of donor recognition, recruitment, and retention will enhance our engagement with the community and its investment in the mission of our affiliate.

We will be hiring one AmeriCorps member for this position in Kittitas County for the 2021-2022 AmeriCorps year starting August 16, 2021.

AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. Members commit their time to address critical community needs like increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, preparing for disasters, and more. This is a federally funded program that allows you a way to serve your country through direct service. Please note these AmeriCorps positions are not considered employment but are considered a term of service. Our Habitat affiliate provides members with:

  • Hands-on career/professional experience at a nationally recognized non-profit that puts low income families in affordable homes through the homeownership model
  • Living stipend paid out on monthly basis ($24,119 total for VISTA members in Kittitas County, WA serving 12 months)
  • Housing stipend paid monthly directly to landlord ($500/month for 1st term members; $750/month for 2nd term members)
  • Transportation benefit ($54 per month gas mileage reimbursement)
  • Members who complete a full term of service (12 months) are eligible for a Segal Education Award of $6,195 to be used to pay off student loans or go back to college
  • The AmeriCorps program will also pay off the interest that is accrued from your loan deferment during your term of service
  • Members also receive a health plan at no cost and are potentially eligible for food stamps
  • VISTA members focus on “indirect” service, this is primarily an office position

Construction Crew Leader – National AmeriCorps

The member serving in this hands on role will help us lead volunteers on site and give the necessary boost to significantly increase the number of families our affiliate is able to serve. Kittitas Habitat is poised to build 18 homes in 3 years, join us as we take on the challenge! The Construction Crew Leader will take on the role of leading volunteers and future homeowners on site in all sorts of construction activities including but not limited to framing, siding, windows, painting, flooring, cabinet install, doors and trim, landscaping, etc. No construction knowledge or experience is required for this position, we look forward to the opportunity to teach you how to build a house even if you’ve never picked up a hammer in your life!  Habitat Construction Site Manager staff will be teaching you the skills you need to effectively lead volunteers on a daily basis. You’ll be working, learning, and leading alongside other local volunteers and homeowners which is sure to lead to a fun and rewarding work environment during your term of service. We welcome our construction AmeriCorps to join us in various community events which will encourage community members to get involved as volunteers on our worksites or to apply to be family partners. We view the construction crew leader as integral to our goals of building more homes and better neighborhoods and communities throughout our service area. The Kittitas Construction Crew Leader will be a part of a larger group of up to 11 AmeriCorps serving in neighboring King County.

We will be hiring one AmeriCorps members for this position in Kittitas County for the 2021-2022 AmeriCorps year starting tentatively in August 2021.

AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. Members commit their time to address critical community needs like increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, preparing for disasters, and more. This is a federally funded program that allows you a way to serve your country through direct service. Please note these AmeriCorps positions are not considered employment but are considered a term of service. Our Habitat affiliate provides members with:

  • Hands-on career/professional experience at a nationally recognized non-profit that puts low income families in affordable homes through the homeownership model
  • Living stipend paid out on monthly basis ($16,300 total for National members serving 10.5 months)
  • Housing stipend paid monthly directly to landlord ($500/month for 1st term members; $750/month for 2nd term members)
  • Transportation benefit ($54 per month gas mileage reimbursement)
  • Members who complete a full term of service (10 ½ months) are eligible for a Segal Education Award of $6,195 to be used to pay off student loans or go back to college
  • The AmeriCorps program will also pay off the interest that is accrued from your loan deferment during your term of service
  • Members also receive a health plan at no cost and are potentially eligible for food stamps